Fridays are always free on the blog, but this Friday is the last Friday of the regular season. As a result, the cost of admission for today’s Free Blog Weekend is a required answer to the questions before venturing off onto other topics.
The discussions this season have been frenzied, varied and even contentious at times. A season that began with mixed predictions, mixed expectations and an assortment of opinions on Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow and Bo Porter finishes this weekend with more uncertainty about the players, future and next steps for the organization.
Interestingly, this weekend’s starting trio for Houston has been panned as a positioning of sorts for the #5 spot in next season’s rotation. One of the team’s top prospects for the past few seasons — Jon Singleton — will sit this weekend, seemingly the only way to stop a hitless streak. The team’s two best pitchers have also been sidelined, shut down after surprisingly strong seasons.
So, what’s on your mind? What are you discussing? Forget it for a moment, and let’s focus on a few questions. Any one of you can make an argument the Astros could easily have won 75-80 games this year with a few changed decisions. Most of you can point to multiple moves by either Porter or Luhnow that would have improved the team’s standing, either in 2014 or for the future. And, most of you can quote chapter and verse on the TV deal, the relationship between Luhnow and Porter and the horrific play of certain players.
- Most believe the Astros should/could achieve a .500 season or better in 2015. The team will likely have George Springer for a full season, a new bullpen, perhaps an upgrade at a position or two and more. So…
- What does success look like in 2015? In wins/losses and progress in the much-discussed Luhnow Plan. You can define success however you wish.
- What is the key to success in 2015? Open-ended question. Maybe it’s the new manager, the relationship between Luhnow and the new manager or maybe it’s the TV deal. Is it perhaps one of the up-and-coming prospects like Carlos Correa or Mark Appel? Or something else?
- The Astros are guaranteed at least an 18-game improvement over 2013. Many would consider that a success and a step forward. How would you rate the 2014 season? Successful? Treading water? Failure? Then, support your answer. In other words, like my fifth grade teacher used to say: “Show your work.”
Okay, hope your weekend is blessed beyond measure. Look forward to reading your responses and then discussing whatever else is on your mind.